corders in the hague

It's like having the Corders round for dinner - except the kids don't smash stuff and Mike doesn't drink all your booze. And when you're bored you can get rid of us with a mouse click rather than having to start tidying up the house.

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Location: The Hague, Netherlands

Sunday, May 13, 2007

New phrase

Today I introduce you, at least the non-Dutch speakers among you, to a new phrase: “Zonder blik of bloos.”
Literally translated, “without a look or a blush,” English equivalent is something like “without so much as a by your leave” though when I look at that phrase, I’m not sure it even exists.
Anyway, I hope the meaning will become apparent and I invite you all to insert the phrase in the true story recounted below.
Before we get to it, and without wanting to hype it because it wasn’t THAT big a deal, I recall that when we first got to Australia in 1999, driving along Lane Cove Road into central Sydney, Irmie was amazed by the long and orderly lines of people standing at bus stops. She couldn’t believe that anybody in their right mind would willingly turn up at a bus stop and politely wait their turn to get on. If you’ve ever tried to battle your way out of a Dutch train swimming hopelessly against the tide of humanity attempting to get in, you’ll know why this was such a shock to her system.
So here’s my latest whinge.
On Friday, I had to take Esther to the doctor – she’s been crook for a while, going from one bug to the other; when snot wasn’t pouring out of her nose or ears, she was throwing up. Generally she was miserable and irritable and that made us all miserable and irritable. So off to the doc to enquire if there might be some underlying reason why a perfectly fit and healthy child keeps getting sick. The doctor, who appeared to be at least 20 years younger than me, made it clear she didn’t know why I was wasting her valuable time with such a question. She prodded and poked Esther, said she looked pretty damn fit and healthy to her and finally as a way to get me out of her office (presumably so she could play with Barbies, or whatever girls of her age do) she told me to take Esther to the hospital next door for some blood tests.
When we got inside (Esther already whimpering in anticipation of the needle), a thin woman was standing behind the counter dealing with another patient.
The counter had one of those little things from which you pull a number so you know when it’s your turn. The number on the reel was 36; the number on the screen was 35. There was nobody else anywhere near the counter. I thought I’d do my bit to combat Amazon deforestation and not pluck a number and instead just wait there (like a commuter waiting for a Sydney bus) until it was my turn.
From nowhere, a woman elbowed past Esther and me and (alright, I’ll give you a clue – here’s where you insert the phrase) TOOK THE NUMBER 36 and went and sat down!
The more observant among you may have noticed that I don’t often unleash the old exclamation mark, but there it is.
My astonishment turned to horror when the (how can I say this politely?) scrawny bitch behind the counter finished with the patient she was dealing with, looked through me and pressed the button under the counter that let off a ping and clicked the number board to 36! The woman with the number strolled past me (you may insert the new phrase here again if you want) and attended to her blood letting business. I’m not a vengeful person, but I hope she got a particularly persistent strain of hepatitis.


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